Migration to and from the terai: shifting movements and motives

H.N. Gartaula, Anke Niehof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In Nepal, the historical evidence shows that migration to the terai increased after the eradication of malaria in the late 1950s and has been increasing ever since. More recently, however, out-migration from the terai is rapidly increasing. By applying both qualitative and quantitative research methods, in-depth qualitative interviews, focus group discussions and household survey were used for data collection, with considerable inputs from ethnographical fieldwork for about 21 months. The paper presents three types of population flows in the historical pattern. First, the history of Nepal as an arena of population movement; second, the gradual opening up of the terai, leading to the hills-terai movement; and the third, the current outward flow as an individual migration for work. The paper exemplifies that poverty and lack of arable land are not the only push factors, but that pursuing a better quality of life is gaining importance as a migration motive. We conclude that like movements of people, their motives for moving are also not static and cannot be taken for granted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-50
JournalThe South Asianist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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